Chicago Chef Bill Kim shares his perspective on COVID-19, Black Lives Matter movement

By Common Threads | Jul 16, 2020

Common Threads has invited individuals from its network to share their perspectives on recent events. In this blog, Chef Bill Kim (chef/owner of urbanbelly and executive chef of Crate and Barrel’s Table at Crate) documents his thoughts on COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, and his decisions to continue giving back to support the community. Chef Kim was one of the chefs who participated in Common Threads’ food distribution project with Top Box in the early phases of COVID-19.

By Chef Bill Kim

As challenging and heartbreaking as 2020 has been, I feel now more than ever we have a real opportunity to right a lot of wrongs that have gone on far too long. Since the onset of COVID-19, the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others, the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racist advocacy, we now know that we have to dig deeper to understand that our connection to one another is far greater than we’d imagine. It’s time to embrace our common threads! This current time in history is in many ways the great equalizer.

Navigating the “new normal” means taking action at every level. Understanding the facts, educating ourselves on the history we were not taught, questioning and putting pressure on the systems built that have not served us as BIPOC, creating opportunities for the next generation by empowering them with the skills needed to contribute to their communities and the world and demanding justice for all. Now is the time! I am hopeful.

I have always made a conscious decision, as a chef and restaurateur to create a culture within our restaurants that represent diversity and inclusion. My wife Yvonne Cadiz-Kim is Puerto Rican and I am Korean. We playfully refer to ourselves as “Koricans”, so for me, having this exposure to her culture and experience has been a great source of inspiration and our mission is to tell our love story through food. Being a part of the Common Threads family, from its inception, has been a great honor!

It is very important to Yvonne and me that the charities we align ourselves with reflect our core values and Common Threads is a perfect fit. Our responsibility as global citizens is to be it, so the next generation can see it! This will be our greatest challenge and we are humbled. Together we will make it happen!